Texas expanded its limited medical cannabis program during its 2021 legislative session, and Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation (TOCC), one of the state’s three vertically integrated cannabis licensees, is planning an expansion of its own to meet increased patient demand.
In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1535 into law to add cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the state’s list of qualifying conditions. The legislation also increases the tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC ) limit for medical cannabis from 0.5% to 1%.
With patient demand expected to increase when the new law takes effect Sept. 1, TOCC is building out a nearly 100,000-square-foot, vertically integrated facility on 25 acres of land in Bastrop, Texas, that will house the company’s cultivation, processing and retail operations.
The lease for TOCC’s current facility in Manchaca expires in July 2022, and since state law allows each medical cannabis licensee only one vertically integrated facility, the company will move all its operations to Bastrop next year.
TOCC CEO Morris Denton said “it’s hard to say” how much patient demand will increase with the expansion of Texas’ medical cannabis program, but the company plans to continue producing the best medicine it can for the patient population as it grows.
“We view it as our responsibility to continue to create the right medicine for the patient population as it expands, and to be able to produce a sufficient amount of product to meet whatever demand might be created,” Denton told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.
TOCC’s new facility will be open to the public through guided tours, Denton said, as part of the company’s efforts to educate the community and normalize medical cannabis.
“We view our business in its entirety as something that we’re willing to show to everyone,” he said. “The fact is that the state of Texas is behind the times when it comes to the Legislature’s willingness to embrace medical cannabis as a meaningful industry. … We view our operations as a means to help encourage people to shift their perceptions around what they think we do.”
The facility is designed to maximize efficiency from seed to sale, Denton added. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at how the product development process flows throughout cultivation and into extraction, manufacturing, processing, refining [and] testing. We laid out our entire facility with that in mind, but also with an eye toward being able to scale the size of our facility on that 25 acres as the market demands.”
Texas’ medical cannabis law prohibits patients from using smokable flower, but TOCC produces tinctures, sprays, lozenges and gummies for the market.
“As we move into Bastrop and start to onboard that facility and scale our operations, we want to do so in the most efficient manner possible in order to help reduce the overall price of medicine for the patients throughout Texas,” Denton said. “Continuing to fine-tune and streamline operations and continuing to scale operations at the same time is a big goal for us throughout the remainder of this year and for the next couple years."